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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Copperheads: hated by both sides in the Civil War

I recently finished reading The Lyon Campaign in Missouri: Being A History of the First Iowa Infantry. This book is filled with interesting anecdotes such as how to shoot squirrels. It also gives insights into the politics of the war in Iowa. The author says about a third of his fellow Iowans were for the South. The main issue was slavery and what to do about it, and one of the main arguments against getting rid of slavery and making black people citizens was "Would you let a Negro marry your daughter?"

Sad to say, I've heard this same argument used as recently as the 1980s.

Even if a third of Iowans were for the rebels (an astonishing figure for such a northern state) most didn't go fight. They were the so-called Copperheads. The author states, "They were perhaps the most numerous and most contemptible lot of scoundrels that appear in history. They wanted the South to win, but would not fight for it. After the war was over the soldiers of the North and South, having gotten acquainted with each other, fraternized. Neither side ever afterwards fraternized much with the Northern 'copperhead' or 'doughface'"

Photo of Copperhead pamphlet courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

1 comment:

  1. Copperhead - I learned a new term today. And sad that's still the attitude of some about their daughters.


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